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North Stradbroke Island Laid-back island life

By Katrina Lobley

A visit to North Stradbroke Island ('Straddie' to locals) charms with its retro, laidback vibe. Make like a local and hit the beach or delve into the Queensland sand island’s fascinating history. And did we mention there are kangaroos just hopping about, ready for their close-up?

Map of North Stradbroke Island, Queensland

Bask in all-day sunshine

Cylinder Beach, near the community of Point Lookout, is a photogenic cove with fine white sand that attracts families and paddlers; its soft, peeling waves appeal to surfers and body boarders. The patrolled beach is north-facing, which means it enjoys all-day sunshine along with glorious views over to neighbouring Moreton Island. Other stretches of sand worth stepping foot on include Flinders Beach, Main Beach and Frenchmans Beach.

See migrating humpbacks

Like to see some spectacular whale action while standing on solid ground? Skip the motion of the ocean that comes with whale watching cruises and head to Point Lookout with a pair of binoculars between late May and early November. Straddie is near Australia’s “humpback highway” – the route taken by whales migrating between their feeding and breeding grounds. Humpbacks are known for their extroverted “breaching” behaviour, which includes leaping out of the water and rolling in the air.  

Visit Brown and Blue lakes

Brown Lake and Blue Lake are areas of special cultural significance for Quandamooka people. Brown Lake (the pure rainwater is stained brown by native tea trees) is 3.5 kilometres (2 miles) from Dunwich and is known for its tranquil waters and wildflower-dotted surrounds. To reach Blue Lake, which Quandamooka people call Karboora, meaning ‘deep silent pool,’ continue past the Brown Lake turn-off to the Blue Lake entrance in Naree Budjong Djara National Park and hike to the lake through woodlands. 

Walk the North Gorge

At Point Lookout, get a bit of a workout by following the North Gorge walk that traces up, down and around the rocky headlands, showcasing a spectacular narrow gorge. Pandanus palms frame stunning coastal views that, at the right time of year, might include migrating humpback whales.

Stay and snap the wildlife

Straddie is packed with accommodation options ranging from campsites to hotels and resorts. At Cylinder Beach, the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel and Spa Resort offers hotel rooms and apartments for those who prefer to self cater. Nearby, The Islander Holiday Resort offers apartments, along with the chance to spy Straddie’s resident kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras. For a little nature combined with luxury, consider the glamping tents with Minjerribah Camping.

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